Yesterday I wrote about questionable business practices exercised by Amazon.com. Amazon has not always played fair when it comes to their third party retailers. They’ve undercut the price of the same product once it begins to do well. They’ve also placed their product ahead of third party retailers which helps Amazon sales. There are solutions to getting around Amazon’s race to the bottom in retail sales. No you don’t have to dump Amazon; you just have to play the game better.
Amazon has the capital and the size to lay siege to the castle. This means that they can drop their price to below cost to drive small retailers away from a once profitable product. While this isn’t always fair, it is a long standing business strategy. You can circumvent this strategy by simply having a unique product that Amazon can’t get its hands on. Case in point, just about any product featured on Esty.com. This unique on-line retail site features handcrafted or one of a kind items. They are hard to purchase in bulk and cannot be easily reproduced and sold again and again. Amazon doesn’t specialize in unique.
Another method of shorting Amazon’s fuse is to find a wholesaler who is concerned with their product reputation. These wholesalers and manufacturers take pride in their product and refuse to be undercut. They have minimum orders and a minimum pricing structure. These products are usually more expensive, either luxury items or bordering on luxury, but they have the potential for large profits and prestige. Think Rolex or Cartier. You would never see these brand names on Amazon and if you did you could be sure it was a cheap knock off, not the real McCoy. If it’s used you are more likely to see it on EBay.
Not everyone can craft products or swing a deal with a designer wholesaler or manufacturer. But as a society we need to look at the quality of the manufacturing, the customer service from the retailer and the cost to retail if we allow price to be the deciding factor when purchasing a product. Price is good but it shouldn’t be the only thing we think of when buying something. I’ve passed up some good pricing because I wasn’t sure I would get help if there was a problem or I wasn’t sure of the products origins. Amazon is starting to act like that guy selling Gucci out of the back of a car, while it may look good on the surface, it’s the wrong thing to do.